Israeli Discount Bank Clamps Down On Foreign Customers

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The bank requires customers to declare that money has been reported to tax authorities overseas.

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Sources inform ”Globes” that Israel Discount Bank (TASE: DSCT) has begun demanding from foreign customers a declaration that the money in their bank accounts has been properly reported to the tax authorities in their home countries. So far, the bank is only demanding the declaration from new customers and from current customers who are making new money transfers into their accounts.

Discount Bank said in response, “We don’t disclose information about the bank’s customers.”

Discount Bank began making the demands a few weeks ago, when CEO Lilach Asher-Topilski took up her post, but the decision to tighten procedures was reportedly taken by her predecessor, Reuven Spiegel, just before he left office. Asher-Topilski is expected to emphasize the matter, and she may widen it to include declarations on current assets.

The sources added that Bank Hapoalim (TASE: POLI) is also demanding that foreign customers declare that they have reported assets to the tax authorities in their home countries, but it is only applying the policy to European customers who are making large transfers.

Bank Hapoalim said in response, “European customers who transfer substantial amounts of money from a country that is not their country of residence are asked to declare that the money has been reported.”

Bank Leumi (TASE: LUMI) has also begun to demand declarations from some European customers that their money has been reported to the tax authorities in their home countries. If the declarations are not submitted within a few months, the bank is threatening to close the accounts. Bank Leumi seems to be making the strictest demands among the banks. Its harsh line is apparently because it has already been burned by tax evasion by customers.

The banks are demanding these declarations from foreign customers even through the regulator is not requiring them to do so. The banks see the tightening of regulations against tax evasion worldwide and that the banks are being held responsible for money that has not been reported, and they are taking preemptive action by requiring declarations from their customers.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news – www.globes-online.com 

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